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Blog Article

Effective Project Portfolio Management in Pharmaceutical Research

July 8, 2024 | 5 min

cplace CommunityProject and Portfolio Management

The pharmaceutical industry faces significant challenges in the development and provision of new medications. How can project portfolio management (PPM) help to overcome these challenges? In this guest article, our partner REDPOINT.TESEON GmbH – part of the Dataciders Group – takes a look at how PPM can support pharmaceutical companies in navigating the complex research and development maze and what benefits a PPM software offers in this context. 

Pharma & PPM

In the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of the pharmaceutical industry, the successful development and provision of new medications are crucial for addressing global health challenges and improving patients’ lives. However, the journey from drug discovery to market approval is fraught with complexities that require a strategic and holistic approach to project management. This is where project portfolio management (PPM) proves to be a critical tool, enabling pharmaceutical companies to navigate the complex maze of research and development initiatives. 

PPM serves as a compass, enabling pharmaceutical companies to achieve their strategic goals by orchestrating a multitude of projects and programs. It aligns individual project efforts with the company’s vision, ensuring that each endeavor contributes to the overarching goal of providing life-saving therapies. At the heart of PPM is a structured framework that encompasses planning, execution, and evaluation, creating a continuous cycle of refinement and improvement. 

Understanding the Pharmaceutical Landscape

Before delving into the intricacies of PPM, it’s essential to grasp the unique challenges that characterize the pharmaceutical industry. The R&D process is notoriously lengthy and arduous, often spanning over a decade and consuming substantial financial resources. This complicated journey is fraught with numerous hurdles that require pharmaceutical companies to exhibit unwavering resilience and adaptability. 

One of the greatest challenges lies in the complexity of drug development itself. The intricate mechanisms of the human body, coupled with the multitude of factors that influence the efficacy and safety of drugs, present a formidable obstacle. Additionally, the regulatory landscape is stringent and demanding, requiring rigorous testing and adherence to strict guidelines. 

The Role of PPM: Taming the Chaos

Amid these complexities, PPM emerges as a beacon of hope, offering a structured approach to managing the intricate web of projects and programs in the pharmaceutical industry. It empowers companies to navigate the R&D landscape with greater clarity, efficiency, and ultimately, success, fostering collaboration at all levels. 

The effectiveness of PPM is based on promoting alignment at all levels, from the strategic vision of the management to the daily tasks of the project teams It ensures that every project and program contributes to the overarching corporate goals, preventing resource misallocation and the pursuit of efforts that deviate from the company’s mission. 

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A market leader in the pharmaceutical industry replaced a legacy system for project and portfolio management used in large parts of the company with cplace.

A Glimpse into the PPM Framework: Orchestrating Projects

The PPM framework serves as a roadmap, guiding pharmaceutical companies through the intricate process of project-based drug development. It encompasses three distinct phases: planning, execution, and evaluation, with each phase playing a crucial role in achieving the desired outcomes. 

The planning phase lays the foundation for successful portfolio implementation. This involves identifying potential projects, assessing their strategic value, and prioritizing them based on their expected contribution. This meticulous process ensures that resources are used efficiently and efforts are focused on the most promising drug development approaches. 

With a well-defined plan, the execution phase brings projects to life. This involves monitoring daily activities and progress, as well as addressing any challenges that arise along the way. Effective communication and collaboration are paramount in this phase to ensure that all stakeholders remain aligned and informed. 

The evaluation phase completes the PPM cycle, providing valuable insights for continuous improvement. This includes assessing the success of projects and programs, identifying areas for enhancement, and incorporating the lessons learned into future endeavors. This reflective process fosters a culture of continuous learning, enabling pharmaceutical companies to refine their PPM strategies and achieve even greater success in the future. 

Software Support: Unlocking the Full Potential of PPM

To fully leverage the benefits of PPM, the use of PPM software is recommended. Well-designed PPM software offers numerous advantages, including: 

  • Centralized and standardized Data Management: All project-related information is stored in a consistent data model, ensuring that all participants work with the same data set. The PPM software can thus be defined as the single source of truth, preventing data from being dispersed and unlinked across multiple Excel files. This is particularly beneficial in drug development, where many different teams and departments are involved in the process. 
  • Improved Collaboration and Efficiency: The centralized and unified data management also promotes collaboration and efficiency, as time-consuming clarifications about the current status of information are no longer necessary, and participants work with the same data objects. 
  • Process Automation: Routine tasks, such as generating reports or approving project proposals, can be automated, saving time and resources. This can significantly accelerate the entire process from drug discovery to market approval. 
  • Transparency: All stakeholders have access to the current status of projects at any time, leading to better collaboration and decision-making. This overall increases the success rate of projects and ensures that critical projects can be terminated quickly, thus saving costs in drug development. 
  • Visualizations: Dashboards provide a holistic overview of the project portfolio, allowing trends and issues to be identified early and enabling adjustments to the project portfolio as needed. 

 

To successfully implement PPM software, careful planning and preparation are required. Firstly, it is important to clearly define the objectives the company aims to achieve with the PPM software (definition of goals). To select the right software, it is necessary to capture the requirements that the software should meet. Another crucial aspect of implementing PPM software is employee training, as they must be able to operate the software effectively.  

To bring the software into productive use, data migration must be conducted, meaning all existing project data needs to be transferred into the new software. Additionally, it must be considered that introducing new software involves changes to established processes. Therefore, a special focus must be placed on change management; the introduction of the new software must be carefully communicated and supported. Another key success factor is industry and domain knowledge, as this allows for a better understanding and implementation of the processes to be mapped. 

The cplace platform has been specifically designed to fully unlock the potential of PPM and deliver the benefits. With its comprehensive features and intuitive user-friendliness, it provides the perfect solution for the unique challenges of various industries. As an experienced company, REDPOINT.TESEON AG possesses the know-how and expertise to optimally support pharmaceutical companies in implementing and utilizing the cplace platform in the PPM of the pharma R&D process. 

Conclusion: PPM – An Indispensable Tool for Excellence in Pharma R&D

In conclusion, PPM is an indispensable tool for pharmaceutical companies to manage the complexities of drug development. By providing a structured approach to project management, PPM empowers pharma companies to align their efforts, optimize resource allocation, and ultimately deliver life-saving therapies to patients. Utilizing PPM software offers numerous advantages, such as centralized data management, process automation, transparency, and visualizations. Therefore, implementing suitable software should be carefully planned and executed to maximize these benefits. 

About the Author

Marcel Zarifkar, Solution Consultant and Project Manager, REDPOINT.TESEON GmbH

REDPOINT.TESEON GmbH is a company of the Dataciders Group, the leading service provider for data & analytics in Germany. REDPOINT.TESEON GmbH specializes in the optimization and transformation of complex value creation processes. It offers consulting services and supports the agile transformation of its customers with its own smart apps for AI-based business analytics. 

To the Homepage of REDPOINT.TESEON GmbH
Marcel Zarifkar

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